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May 2, 2012

Paartalu A-League rumours dismissed

Midfielder Erik Paartalu will be a key part of Brisbane's shot at an unprecedented A-League three-peat despite rumours he has an escape clause in his contract linked to former coach Ange Postecoglou.

Postecoglou, who walked out on the Roar soon after guiding the club to its second successive A-League title over Perth Glory last month, will coach Melbourne Victory next season.

The hottest rumour doing the A-League rounds is that Paartalu had a get-out clause included in his latest contract with Brisbane allowing him to leave if Postecoglou was not coaching the club.

But Paartalu's manager David O'Keefe, whose Sydney-based agency Football Focus International (FFI) also acts for Postecoglou, said the defensive midfielder would see out the final year of his contract with the Roar.

"Ange and Erik are very close and there's a high regard there for each other but there's no written clause in his contract to suggest he could get out if Ange moved on," O'Keefe told AAP on Thursday.

"There's lots of rumours flying around this week about (Brisbane) players who still have a year to go on their contracts.

"Erik won't be the Darius Boyd of the A-League.

"I'm not saying it won't happen and that he may not end up at the Victory at some stage but that won't be in the next 12 months."

O'Keefe said Paartalu, who turned down "stupid money" from Korea (2011) and China (2012) to develop his game under Postecoglou, had recently attracted interest from European and Japanese clubs who were monitoring his progress.

"At this stage, there's interest from a club in Europe and I'm also looking at opportunities in Japan but he'll be playing for the Roar next season," O'Keefe said.

Paartalu, who turned 26 on Thursday, is hoping to push his international appeal if selected to play for the Socceroos against Denmark in Copenhagen early next month.

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